THE ten-month-old son of national footballer Marvin Phillip died from positional asphyxia—his chest was compressed by the straps of a car seat, which limited his ability to breathe.
That was the finding of an autopsy performed on the body of Matai Phillip yesterday.
The autopsy was performed by two pathologists, Dr Valery Alexandrov and Dr Eastlyn McDonald-Burris, at the Forensic Science Centre in St James.
Alexandrov described the child’s death as a “tragic accident”.
The baby’s car seat was also examined.
Alexandrov said, “The autopsy was performed by two pathologists because four eyes are better than two. We took our time and examined everything possible.”
He said a buckle in the car seat was broken which may have caused the child to slip down, moving the strap across his neck. “There are four straps in the car seat and they must have equal pressure at all times. We noticed that one lock was broken which may have caused the baby to slip down and the buckle moved up to his neck,” he said.
Alexandrov said the child’s chest was compressed, limiting his breathing.
And he issued a warning to parents, “I always say a car seat should never be used outside of the car or on a stroller. It should not be used as a crib or a chair. A car seat needs to be fixed, not shaky.”
The toddler was found unresponsive in his car seat at Anointed Angels Day-Care in Chaguanas, an hour after he was dropped off by his grandfather last Friday.
Phillip, 29, was in Sao Paulo, Brazil, when he heard the tragic news. He travelled with the team to Argentina, but as the reserve goal keeper, did not play.
Baby Matai lived with his mother, Leslie-Ann Halls, in Springlands, Gasparillo. Halls is a Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT) employee and a part-time Special Reserve Police officer.
Phillip returned home on Saturday.
Relatives said the child’s parents were traumatised by the incident.